review for Edge of Eternity on AllMovie

Edge of Eternity (1959)
by Bruce Eder review

Don Siegel's Edge of Eternity is not only a neat little crime thriller but one of the better outdoor adventure movies of its era, availing itself of the landscape attending the Grand Canyon and its surrounding area as only a color film in Cinemascope could. Shot on location in Mojave County, AZ, it weaves the vast open spaces of its locales all through its story, and is filled with visually striking images (which, to be fair, should be seen on a theater screen to be appreciated properly) juxtaposed around a fine mystery story. What's more, unlike most movies of this era that try to mesh Hollywood with remote locales, Siegel keeps the movie business smoothness (forget glitziness) to an absolute minimum -- Cornel Wilde fairly melts into his role as a deputy county sheriff who is up to his neck in unexplained murders (and, for a time, unidentified victims), and the rest of the cast isn't far behind. Under Siegel's nonstop momentum, you can just sit back and go for what will -- certainly in a theater, and perhaps even on a large widescreen monitor, if this ever shows up on DVD -- be the ride of your life during the final section, an extended helicopter and airplane pursuit culminating with a fight aboard a bucket suspended more than a mile above the Grand Canyon. Incidentally, that "dancing bucket" was the real article, as was the guano cave it was put there to service. Generations of businessmen had tried to exploit the bat excrement, and the U.S. Guano Corp. put in the bucket-tramway in 1958 at a cost of one million dollars, but the cave had only a fraction of the 100,000 tons of guano originally surveyed, and the 7,500-foot cable link across that gorge kept developing problems; by 1959 the operation was halted. The shooting of Edge of Eternity was the last time the cable tramway was used, following the severing of one of the main cables by a passing airplane.